December 19, 2012 by Jason Hood
Permit me a personal note. At our house, it’s been a season of extremes. The death of my mother-in-law after a sixteen-year battle with ALS in September. We then experienced the birth of our fourth child on All Saints’ Day–a wonderful, chill boy who looks like he’s big enough to compete with his brothers. My father-in-law battles terminal cancer, with a tumor slowly taking over his cerebellum. He’ll move to hospice later today.
Those who know me well agree that I’m pretty even-keeled. You wouldn’t file me under “Shiny Happy People” most of the time, nor would you think, “This guy needs to be institutionalized for depression.” But lately joy has been a struggle. And the struggle itself creates a struggle, because after all, I’m supposed to be joyful.
I was walking around our local grocery store tonight, pondering my own daze and (apparent) lack of joy, and I asked whether joy in all things is all that realistic. Hebrews 12 came to mind. For the joy set before him Jesus endured the cross, which in fact was not a joy.
To state the obvious, the joy wasn’t there in that moment. He had to look forward–past local moments of shame, stress, and horror–to the moment when it would fully be in his possession.
N. B.: in context, Hebrews is applying the experience of Jesus to the lives of his people.